About 5,000 friends and supporters of Cal State Fullerton gathered Saturday evening for the university’s annual signature event, Concert Under the Stars, raising more than $1 million for student scholarships and programs.
Guests enjoyed an evening of spirited music and dance presented by CSUF students — and talented alums, including alumna Cindy Shea, the trumpet player who founded the two-time Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas; and alumna Denean Dyson ’11 (B.A. music) and the Long Beach-based Soul Foundation, with their jazz-driven renditions of popular R&B, soul, neo-soul, funk, blues and Motown favorites.
Also taking a turn on stage was alumna Erin McNally ’02 (B.A. theatre arts), who welcomed CSUF President Fram Virjee to his first Concert Under the Stars. She introduced him to the audience by asking about his background and impressions of Cal State Fullerton.
“When I was in college, I worked as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I wanted to be president … I just didn’t know it would be president of Cal State Fullerton.”
Like many of CSUF’s students, Virjee is the first in his family to graduate from college. Since stepping into the role of president in January, he has never missed an opportunity to praise the students, faculty and staff of the university.
“The energy and joy on the campus is amazing,” he said. “I feel extremely lucky and blessed to be here.”
Brooke Aston ’02 (B.F.A. theatre arts-musical theatre) paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin with her own rendition of “Respect.”
As in previous years, students formed a big part of the production from start to finish. Various CSUF dance and music ensembles shared the stage, including the College of the Arts Jazz Orchestra, led by Bill Cunliffe, professor of music.
The finale, featuring tunes from “The Greatest Showman,” showcased the university’s Concert Under the Stars ensemble, dancers and show choir.
The evening’s festivities culminated in a dazzling show of fireworks sponsored by the Anaheim Ducks.
For more images of Concert Under the Stars, check out the Flickr album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/csufnewsphotos.